Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Collaborative Blog Post: Part Three — Next “Hot” Social Media Tool?

And so the conversation continues … This week I began a series of blog posts connected to a collaboration I initiated on Google Wave. For the details and the vision of the project please take a moment to read this.

The first two articles focused on the following:

  • Part One — Successes of 2009 in the meetings and events business!
  • Part Two — What’s the priority business issue to focus on in 2010?

I am proud to associate with and thank the following event professionals whom have contributed their thought leadership to this edition, Part Three:

Question  —  What is the next “hot” social media tool and why?

Ian McGonnigalIan — I think aggregation will be the next big thing.  A great example of this is Google Wave.  Although this tool is only in preview, it will change the way we communicate, collaborate, integrate and share.  Because it is open source and can be user-defined, it will quickly gain use and favor cross-community.

I see Google Wave as the future of collaboration. As a platform it’s powerful, but what’s most compelling to me is what the developer community will come up with as far as extensions are concerned. Imagine one place with your Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, MySpace, email, slideshare, travel plans, audio / video / photo sharing, blogging, RSS and community collaboration. This is going to be huge.

Jeff –>Ian:  Aggregation or collaboration? I see these as two different tools–both very powerful indeed. I’m seeing event aggregation tools already like, twubs, & ASAE’s annual event conference hub.

McCurry –> Jeff: So what do you two mean by Aggregation? Not sure i understand.

Jeff –> McCurry: Aggregation is when several feeds of information is sourced together on one page. For instance, all of the tweets with hashtag, all Facebook fan page mentions, all Flickr pics with specific words, all Google alerts with specific words, sourced onto one web page and constantly updated live.

McCurry –> Jeff: Appreciate the clarification… I really believe Google Wave will serve as both a collaboration and aggregation tool. I see a context for its use in both camps. With it’s plugins and extensions clearly it has the ability to embed other applications (not just web 2.0) seamlessly. When you combine that use with it’s collaborative nature the impact on users could be  extremely powerful!

Jeff HurtJeffMobile applications will be the next “hot” social media tool because the power is being put in the user’s hands.  Location-based mobile applications like Foursquare will also see a rise and savvy event professionals will find a way to apply apps such as this to their events and conferences.

Mike McAllenMike I think those of us nerdo social media event early adopters live in a bubble. We get our panties in a knot talking about the new twitter type tools online. I really feel that the mobile applications will be the driving force for events and meetings. We all carry mobile phones and the new applications will change how we do things. Gowalla, Foursquare types of apps will really take hold and will be integrated into meetings and events.

Jeff –> Mike: Seriously Mike? ASAE used an aggregation tool at their annual conference called the ASAE Conference Hub. It had a mobile application and was a huge hit by conference attendees. That’s not a tech audience by far!

Jessica LevinJessicaI think the event websites will be converted to event communities and they will need to be accessible through both desktop and remote channels.  I see tremendous potential for Google Wave as a vehicle to deliver pre-event education.

One thing we often hear is that people go to events and get ideas, but when they return to work, follow-through falls through the cracks. I see speakers using tools like Google Wave to host post-con sessions and continue relationships with their audience. It may provide a strong channel for accountability.

Midori ConnollyMidori — Yes, totally! This is a GREAT point. It addresses that question that always comes up about whether or not to create hashtags for breakout sessions. If a Wave was created, it could pull what we love about Twitter (ie public access, knowledge capture and sharing, visibility) but permit expansive collaboration and more elaborate conversation: before, during and after the session.

Michelle BrunoMichelle — I agree that mobile applications will be the next frontier to change the way events are organized and consumed, however I see a void in the space where the implementers (organizers, associations, technology providers) should be providing users with more assistance.  The social networking platforms put the technology out there but then (with a few exceptions) don’t really help stimulate usage (especially after the event is over).

There don’t seem to be many “user manuals” on how to use all of the tools being offered on an event effectively. The best information appears to be coming from the bloggers. I think there should be greater efforts to on-board users by those responsible for making the technology available. Did anyone say ROI?

Samuel J. SmithSamuel — Your guess is as good as mine. Last week, I would have told you Google Wave.  This week, I think it is going to be Hot Potato – the new real time chat for events. Next week, we will hear about a new tool.

Here’s what I do know – Success with social media is not going to be about tools and technologies. Success will be about people and processes.  The events that are able to use these tools to change their content distribution and collaboration models will be the winners.

Midori –> Samuel: Copy that big fella! What’s my favorite thing to say? (Okay, at least one of them) “If it doesn’t serve a human need, technology is just a toy.”

Cameron TothCameron — I think the next “hot” tool may be a tool that already exists.  Facebook is making inroads with other websites across the web.  They have been innovating while other social media sites seem to be sleeping.  Fanpages, Group Pages are extremely useful.  LinkedIn is a closed network and Twitter can be unreliable in both its content and its operation.

Users will define Social Media and Social Media sites and Facebook is by far the most popular and most used. I recently put together an event and Facebook was the driving force. That says a lot about the power of a tool that has been around a while but still growing in its functional usage.

Michael McCurryMcCurry — For my part I currently see Google Wave as the social media tool emerging in 2010 as a leader.  Whether that becomes truth or not largely depends on how Google responds to the current challenges being experienced with its beta release.  The application at times runs very slow, especially when you have several people interacting in a wave simultaneously.  That worries me, because it’s greatest strength could become it’s greatest liability!

The fascinating thing about our world today is the continuous introduction of new applications into the marketplace.  For that reason it may be difficult to predict what will be the front running application in 2010.  My colleagues in this article have some excellent insights on the future.  Sam’s assertion that it is not about tools and technologies, but about people and processes is in my mind “on the mark.”

I believe we all need to keep an open mind to what lies ahead, because we just might be surprised at how things evolve in 2010!  What do you think?  Lets keep this conversation going……

Follow Michael McCurry on Twitter

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Lutz November 28, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Interesting dialogue! I think I’m with Jessica on this one. The event website has to be the home-base, but it has to be accessible via mobile device and also push real-time content out to other applications like Facebook. It really isn’t one app, but rather putting useful information in the participants hands where and when they want it…same data, always up-to-date, multiple platforms.

For me, I’m pretty intrigued by the new applications that allow me to leverage my existing connections (from various platforms) and map those against the registration list to pinpoint my matches. When I’m able to set up a number of advance meetings for a show, my ROI goes way up. The trick is going to be to get more attendees to do this advance planning and maximize their time at the show.

I’m not on FourSquare yet (not Mayor material) but that also sounds like an interesting tool to help accelerate networking and connections. For me, helping me network has substantially more value than education…but that’s me.

Dave Lutz – @velchain


Michael M McCurry CMP November 28, 2009 at 3:19 pm

@Dave Lutz,

Wow, some great insight from Mr. Lutz here…

As a consultant I get where you are coming from Dave with wanting to leverage the existing connections across multiple platforms. Since I don’t really work the “show circuit” too often it is more important to me what I can do at my desktop, on the telephone and at local industry events.

I truly see how you would benefit from the functionality you described though… great additional perspective. I perceive Foursquare as a fun light-hearted way to connect with ppl sharing your knowledge of the local (whatever city you are in) hot spots. I am sure there is great potential for it to be used more robustly, so it will be exciting to see how that evolves.

Dave, I have to disagree.. you are definitely Mayor material….. thanks for all your comments and words of wisdom.



Matt Millar November 30, 2009 at 10:38 am

Mobile event interaction is going to be even bigger, it’s started with people twittering out comments from the event (usually at moments when there is nothing engaging going on at the event).

Solutions like Live Talkback allow these sorts of live interaction at events to provide relevant feedback to organisers and also to scale up to mass events.


Michael M McCurry CMP November 30, 2009 at 12:10 pm

@Matt Millar,

Thanks for commenting on this blog post… I did go visit the website you mention above. It looks to me like an audience response system, unless I am missing something. So my question is what distinguishes this one from any other one out there?

Please enlighten us as I love to learn about new technologies!!

thanks for contributing,



Matt Millar November 30, 2009 at 12:38 pm

@Michael M McCurry CMP, the key differences from traditional audience response systems are cost (it’s cheaper) and scale (it’s suitable for mass audience response – millions of live voters)

It’s also able to integrate with other networking tools – so our roadmap has both twitter & facebook integration on the pipeline for next year, so it becomes part of an integrated set of communication tools that event producers can take advantage of.


Michael M McCurry CMP December 1, 2009 at 9:47 am

@Matt Millar,

Does this system require renting a smartphone or can it be used on your own phone?? That would be a really awesome benefit.



Sneha December 1, 2009 at 6:44 am

The problem with the folks like Google & Yahoo is that they have created many tools which have been loosely coupled. The challenge with such a solution is that the the information gets locked into multiple silos. With Google Wave they are trying to integrate all the conversations (discussions) but what would be truly desirable is a platform built form ground up using social networking at the base and business apps on top of it. I have tried Injoos Teamware ( and found it captures both informal and formal knowledge like documents in one single workspace on the cloud.


Michael M McCurry CMP December 1, 2009 at 9:46 am


Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject… I will check out the application you mentioned…. I am not currently familiar with it.

What you said about Google and Yahoo is true.. I am hoping with Google Wave they will stick with fully developing this one and fine tune it as it seems to have a lot of potential to it.

Appreciate the contribution to the conversation!



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